When does an insurance company have a duty to defend me if I'm being sued?

Like many insurance-related questions, the answer depends upon the terms of your policy. Commercial general liability (CGL) policies, automobile policies, homeowners' policies, and other types of policies all tend to include the duty to defend as well as the duty to pay a covered claim. These policies also tend to spell out what events are covered and what events are excluded from coverage. Keep in mind, however, that even if a policy excludes some event from coverage (the duty to pay benefits), it may still have a duty to defend if you are sued under that same type of occurrence. The current trend for insurers is toward limiting their duty to defend.